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Nonprofit Encourages African American Girls and Women to Stay Afloat in STEM

A new nonprofit science education organization based in Baltimore, MD wants more African American girls and young women to explore marine-related research and pursue careers in aquatic-based STEM fields.

The Black Girls Dive Foundation (BGDF) operates the STREAMS program, which integrates science, technology, robotics, engineering, the arts and mathematics with scuba diving. The program (open to Baltimore-area girls ages 9 or older through college-age freshmen) focuses on structural, mechanical and electrical technologies, with some exposure to optical, biotechnical, thermal and fluid technologies.

Participants will be tasked with building and testing underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROV) with video recording capabilities, while engaging "in introductory underwater archeology and study [of] the biodiversity of ecosystems,” the BGDF site explains. They will be introduced to fundamental techniques of scuba and dive theory, building up their skills to the Professional Association of Diving Instruction (PADI) level.

Through a combination of these hands-on learning experiences, STREAMS wants its participants to be able to confidently explain how electrical and mechanical technology can be used to produce, store, control and transmit electrical energy and motion underwater. Moreover, the program aims to increase the pipeline of minority students engaged in STEM activities and to spark their interest to study STEM in college.  

In June, BGDF received a grant from the Office of Naval Research to cover the cost of the ROV kits, as part of the federally fu nded SeaPerch Program, according to a prepared statement.

“With all our programs, our hope is to encourage African American girls to enter and excel in STEM and to provide opportunities and experiences to ultimately increase representation in aquatic-based STEM areas,” said BGDF president and co-founder C. Nevada Winrow, in the statement.

Learn more about the STREAMS program on the Black Girls Dive Foundation site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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